Capitol Comments

States are re-engineering their workforce development systems because of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA).  One of the primary workforce system challenges is that too many adults lack the skills or credentials required for in-demand jobs.   Of those who lack the skills for in-demand jobs, many do not know how to access information and training needed for the in-demand jobs.   The second major challenge is to prepare students to be college and career ready.  A 2015 survey found that that 78% of college faculty and 62% of employers believe that public high schools are not doing enough to prepare students for the expectations they will face in college and the working world.  In addition, it is estimated that by 2020, 65 percent of all jobs will require some form of postsecondary education or training.    WIOA provides the framework and direction to state governments to realign their workforce and educations systems to meet these challenges.
 
WIOA core programs include the federally funded adult, dislocated worker and youth services programs, the Wagner-Peyser program, adult education and literacy programs and rehabilitation services programs.  States are developing strategic plans for these programs and implementing WIOA through new programs and extensive collaboration between departments of workforce development, education, labor, human services and the state and local workforce development boards. This research brief reviews critical state strategies for implementing WIOA and is part three of a three-part series providing an overview of WIOA. 

The Trump administration announced a preliminary 2018 budget proposal that included elimination of the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP). Funds from this program are allocated to states and national grantees in states to employ low-income senior citizens. SCSEP funds 43,600 positions nationwide at a cost of $9,698 per position.

The 2016 Blue Star Families Military Lifestyle Survey summary was released in January 2017. According to the survey, just over half of all military personnel are married, while 36 percent are married with children. Survey respondents indicated family quality of life is the top reason for leaving the service. When asked about their top concerns, 37.9 percent of military spouses site their employment as a major concern.

The labor force participation rate of teens between 16 and 19 has declined substantially over the past thirty years. The average teen labor force participation rate across the states was 37.1 percent in 2015, compared to 56.8% in 1981. A recent BLS study analyzed the factors contributing to the decline in teens working.

In October 2016 the U.S. Department of Labor awarded $50.5 million in grants to help states develop and implement comprehensive strategies to support apprenticeship expansion. Grants were awarded to 36 states and one territory with grant awards ranging from $700,000 to $2,700,000.